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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF EDUCATION
BULLETIN, 1918, No. 35
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF
A REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON
THE REORGANIZATION OF SECOND-
ARY EDUCATION, APPOINTED BY THE
NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
OV THIS PUBLICATION MAT BE PROCURED PROM
the superintendent OF DOCUMENTS
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON, V. C.
5 CENTS 1'ER COPY
Membership of the reviewing committee of the commission (>
I . The need for reorganization 7
II. The goal of education in a democracy 9
III. The main objectives of education 9
IV. The role of secondary education in achieving these objectives 11
1. Health 11
2. Command of fundamental processes 11
3. Worthy home-membership 12
4. Vocation. 13
5. Civic education 13
C. Worthy use of leisure 15
7. Ethical character 15
V. Interrelation of the objectives in secondary education 1G
VI. Recognition of the objectives in reorganizing high-school subjects 16
VII. Education as a process of growth 1(J
VIII. Need for explicit values 17
IX. Subordination of deferred values 17
X. Division of education into elementary and secondary 17
XI. Division of secondary education into junior and senior periods. . .■ 18
XII. -Articulation of secondary education with elementary education 1 )
XIII. Articulation of higher education with secondary education 19
XIV. Recognition of the objectives in planning curriculums 20
XV. The specializing and unifying functions of secondary education 21
XVI. The comprehensive high school as the standard secondary school 24
XVII. Recognition of the objectives in organizing the school 27
XVIII. Secondary education essential for all youth 29
XIX. Part-time schooling as a compulsory minimum requirement 30
XX. Conclusion 31
REPORTS OF THE COMMISSION ON THE REORGANIZATION
OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
The following reports of the commission have been issued as bulletins of the
United States Bureau of Education and may be procured from the Superin-
tendent of Documents, Government Print ins Office, Washington, D. C. at the
prices stated. Remittance should be made in coin or money order. Other
reports of the commission are in preparation.
1918, No. 41. The Reorganization of Secondary Education. Contains prelimi-
nary statements by the chairmen of committees. 10 cents.
L915, No. 23. The Teaching of Community Civics. 10 cents.
1!U0, No. 28. The Social Studies in Secondary Education. 10 cents.
1017. No. 2. Reorganization of English in Secondary Schools. 20 cents.
1017. No. 49. Music in Secondary Schools. 5 cents.
1917. No. 50. Physical Education in Secondary Schools. 5 cents.
1917. No. 51. Moral Values in Secondary Education. 5 cents.
1918, No. 19. Vocational Guidance in Secondary Schools. 5 cents.
1918, No. .15. Cardinal Principles of Secondary Education. 5 cents.
The Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education
presents herewith the cardinal principles which, in the judgment of
its reviewing committee, should guide the reorganization and devel-
opment of secondary education in the United States.
The commission was the direct outgrowth of the work of the com-
mittee on the articulation of high school and college, which submit-
ted its report to the National Education Association in 1911. That
committee set forth briefly its conception of the field and function of
secondary education and urged the modification of college entrance
requirements in order that the secondaiy school might adapt its work
to the varying needs of its pupils without closing to them the possi-
bility of continued education in higher institutions. It took the
position that the satisfactory completion of any well-planned high-
school curriculum should be accepted as a preparation for college.
This recommendation accentuated the responsibility of the secondary
school for planning its work so that young people may meet the
needs of democracy.
Through 1G of its committees the commission is issuing reports
dealing with the organization and administration of secondary
schools, and with the aims, methods, and content of the various
studies. To assist these committees through constructive criticism,
a reviewing committee wds organized in 1913. Besides conducting
continuous correspondence, that committee has each year held one or
two meetings of from one to six days' duration, at which reports of
the various committees were discussed from many points of view, and
as a result some of the reports have been revised and rewritten sev-
eral times. In addition to its task of criticizing reports, it seemed
desirable that the reviewing committee itself should outline in a sin-
gle brief report those fundamental principles that would be most
helpful in directing secondary education. In its desire to determine
the principles that are most significant and to set them forth ade-
quately, the reviewing committee has been three years in formulating
and revising the report which is presented in this bulletin.
The reports already issued by seven committees and listed on the
last page of this bulletin are, for the most part, in fundamental agree-
ment with the principles herein set forth.
The translation of these cardinal principles into daily practice will
of necessity call for continued study and experiment on the part of
the administrative officers and teachers in secondary schoools.
Clarence D. Kixgslet,
Chairman of the Commission.
THE REVIEWING COMMITTEE OF THE COMMISSION ON THE
REORGANIZATION OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
(The Reviewing Committee consists of 26 member?, of whom 16 are chairmen of com-
mittees and 10 are members at large.)
Chairman of the Commission and of the Reviewing Committee:
Clarence D. Kingsley, .State high-school supervisor, Boston, Mass.
Members at large:
Hon. P. P. Claxton, United States Commissioner of Education, Washing-
ton, D. C.
Thomas H. Briggs, associate professor of education. Teachers College,
Columbia University, New York City.
Alexander Inglis, assistant professor of education, in charge of secondary
education, Harvard University, Cambridge. Mass.
Henry Neumann. Ethical Culture School. New York City.
William Orr, senior educational secretary, international Y. M. C. A. com-
mittee, 104 East Twenty-eighth Street, New York City.
William B. Owen, principal Chicago Normal College, Chicago, 111.
Edward O. Sisson, president University of Montana, Missoula. Mont.
Joseph S. Stewart, professor of secondary education, University of Georgia,
Milo II. Stuart, principal Technical Higli School. Indianapolis, Iud.
H. L. Terry, State high-school supervisor, Madison. Wis.
Chairmen of Committees:
Organization and Administration of Secondary Education — Charles Hughes
Johnston, professor of secondary education. University of Illinois, Urbana.
Agriculture — A. V. Storm, professor of -agricultural education. University of
Minnesota. St. Paul, Minn.
Art Education — Henry Turner Bailey, dean. Cleveland School of Art,
Articulation of High School and College — Clarence D. Kingsley. State high-
school inspector, Boston, Mass.
Business Education — Cheesman A. Herrick, president, Girard College, Phila-
Classical Languages — Walter Eugene Foster, Stuyvesaht High School, New
English — James Fleming Hosic, Chicago Normal College, Chicago. 111.
Household Arts — Mrs. Henrietta Calvin, United States Bureau of Educa-
tion, Washington. D. C.
Industrial Arts — Wilson H. Henderson, extension division. University of
Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Wis. (now Major, Sanitary Corps. War Depart-
ment, U. S. A.)
Mathematics — William Heard Kilpatriek, associate professor of education.
Teachers College, Columbia University. New York City.
Modern Languages — Edward Manley. Englewood High School, Chicago. 111.
Music — Will Earhart, director of music, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Physical Education— James H. McCurdy, director of normal courses of
physical education, International Y. M. C. A. College. Springfield, Mass.
(now in France, in charge of Y. M. C. A. recreation work).
Sciences — Otis W. Caldwell, director, Lincoln School, and professor of edu-
cation, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City.
Social Studies — Thomas Jesse Jones, United Slates Bureau of Education,
Washington, D. C.
Vocational Guidance — Frank M. Leavitt, associate superintendent of schools,
G 1 Deceased, Sept. 4, 1917.
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
I. THE NEED FOR REORGANIZATION.
Secondary education should be determined by the needs of the so-
ciety to be served, the character of the individuals to be educated,
and the knowledge of educational theory and practice available.
These factors are by no means static. Society is alwaj's in process
of development; the character of the secondary-school population
undergoes modification ; and the sciences on which educational theory
and practice depend constantly furnish new information. Secondary
education, however, like any other established agency of society, is
conservative and tends to resist modification. Failure to make ad-
justments when the need arises leads to the necessity for extensive
reorganization at irregular intervals. The evidence is strong that
such a comprehensive reorganization of secondary education is im-
perative at the present time.
1. Changes in society. — Within the past few decades changes have
taken place in American life profoundly affecting the activities of
the individual. As a citizen, he must to a greater extent and in a more
direct way cope with problems of community life, State and National
Governments, and international relationships. As a worker, he must
adjust himself to a more complex economic order. As a relatively
independent personality, he has more leisure. The problems arising
from these three dominant phases of life are closely interrelated and
call for a degree of intelligence and efficiency on the part of every
citizen that can not be secured through elementary education alone,
or even through secondary education unless the scope of that edu-
cation is broadened.
The responsibility of the secondaiy school is still further increased
because many social agencies other than the school afford less stim-
ulus for education than heretofore. In many vocations there have
come such significant changes as the substitution of the factory sys-
tem for the domestic system of industry; the use of machinery in
place of manual labor; the high specialization of processes with a
corresponding subdivision of labor; and the breakdown of the ap-
prentice system. In connection with home and family life have fre-
quently come lessened responsibility on the part of the children ; the
withdrawal of the father and sometimes the mother from home oc-
cupations to the factory or store ; and increased urbanization, result-
8 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
ing in less unified family life. Similarly, many important changes
hare taken place in community life, in the church, in the State, and
in other institutions. These changes in American life call for ex-
tensive modifications in secondary education.
■2. Changes in the secondary-school 'population. — In the past 25
years there have been marked changes in the secondary-school pop-
ulation of the United States. The number of pupils has increased,
according to Federal returns, from one for every 210 of the total
population in 1889-90, to one for (}very 121 in 1899-1900, to one for
every 89 in 1909-10, and to one for every 73 of the estimated total
population in 1914-15. The character of the secondary-school pop-
ulation has been modified by the entrance of large numbers of pupils
of widely varying capacities, aptitudes, social heredity, and destinies
in life. Further, the broadening of the scope of secondary education
has brought to the school many pupils who do not complete the full
course but leave at various stages of advancement. The needs of these
pupils can not be neglected, nor can we expect in the near future
that all pupils will be able to complete i\)i> secondary school as full-
At present only about one-third of the pupils who enter the first
year of the elementary school reach the four-year high school, and
only about one in nine is graduated. Of those who enter the seventh
school year, only one-half to two-thirds reach the first year of the
four-year high school. Of those, who enter the four-year high school
about one-third leave before the beginning of the second year, about
one-half are gone before the beginning of the third year, and fewer
than one-third are graduated. These facts can no longer be safely
3. Changes in educational theory. — The sciences on which educa-
tional theory depends have within recent years made significant
contributions. In particular, educational psychology emphasizes the
(a) Individual differences in capacities and aptitudes among sec-
ond (try-school pupils. Already recognized to some extent, this factor
merits fuller attention.
(h) The reexamination and reintervretation of subject values and
the teaching methods with, reference to " general discipline? — While
the final verdict of modern psychology has not as yet been rendered,
it is clear that former conceptions of "general values'" must be thor-
(c) Importance of op plying knowledge. — Subject valliess and
teaching methods must be tested in terms of the laws of learning and
the application of knowledge to the activities of life, rather than
primarily in terms of the demands of any subject as a logically or-
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. 9
(d) Continuity in the development of children. — It has long been
held that psychological changes at certain stages are so pronounced
as to overshadow the continuity of development. On this basis
secondary education has been sharply separated from elementary edu-
cation. Modern psychology, however, goes to show that the develop-
ment of the individual is in most respects a continuous process and
that, therefore, any sudden or abrupt break between the elementary
and the secondary school or between any two successive stages of
education is undesirable.
The foregoing changes in society, in the character of the secondary-
school population, and in educational theory, together with many
other considerations, call for extensive modifications of secondary
education. Such modifications have already begun in part. The
present need is for the formulation of a comprehensive program of
reorganization, and its adoption, with suitable adjustments, in all
the secondary schools of the Nation. Hence it is appropriate for a
representative body like the National Education Association to out-
line such a program. This is the task entrusted by that association
to the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education.
II. THE GOAL OF EDUCATION IN A DEMOCRACY.
Education in the United States should be guided by a clear con-
ception of the meaning of democracy. It is the ideal of democracy
that the individual and society may find fulfillment each in the
other. Democracy sanctions neither the exploitation of the individ-
ual by society, nor the disregard of the interests of society by the
individual. More explicitly —
The purpose of democracy is so to organize society that each member
may develop his personality primarily through activities designed for the
well-being of his fellow members and of society as a whole.
This ideal demands that human activities be placed upon a high
level of efficiency; that to this efficiency be added an appreciation of
the significance of these activities and loyalty to the best ideals in-
volved ; and that the individual choose that vocation and those forms
of social service in which his personality may develop and become
most effective. For the achievement of these ends democracy must
place chief reliance upon education.
Consequently, education in a democracy, both within and without the
school, should develop in each individual the knowledge, interests, ideals,
habits, and powers whereby he will find his place and use that place to
shape both himself and society toward ever nobler ends.
III. THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF EDUCATION.
In order to determine the main objectives that should guide educa-
tion in a democracy it is necessary to analyze the activities of the
individual. Normally he is a member of a family, of a vocational
83453°— 18 2
10 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
group, and of various civic groups, and by virtue of these relation-
ships he is called upon to engage in activities that enrich the family
life, to render important vocational services to his fellows, and to
promote the common welfare. It follows, therefore, that worthy
home-membership, vocation, and citizenship, demand attention as
three of the leading objectives.
Aside from the immediate discharge of these specific duties, every
individual should have a margin of time for the cultivation of per-
sonal and social interests. This leisure, if worthily used, will re-
create his powers and enlarge and enrich life, thereby making him
better able to meet his responsibilities. The unworthy use of leisure
impairs health, disrupts home life, lessens vocational efficiency, and
destroy.- civic-mindedness. The tendency in industrial life, aided by
legislation, is to decrease the working hours of large groups of peo-
ple. While shortened hours tend to lessen the harmful reactions that
arise from prolonged strain, they increase, if possible, the importance
of preparation for leisure. In view of these considerations, educa-
i ion for the worthy use of leisure is of increasing importance as an
To discharge the duties of life and to benefit from leisure, one
must have good health. The health of the individual is essential also
to the vitality of the race and to the defense of the Nation. Health
education is, therefore, fundamental.
There are various processes, such as reading, writing, arithmetical
computations, and oral and written expression, that are needed as
tools in the affairs of life. Consequently, command of these funda-
mental processes, while not an end in itself, is nevertheless an indis-
And, finally, the realization of the objectives already named is de-
pendent upon ethical character, that is, upon conduct founded upon
light principles, clearly perceived and loyally adhered to. Good
ritizenship. vocational excellence, and the Avorthy use of leisure go
hand in hand with ethical character; they are at. once the fruits of
sterling character and the channels through which such character is
developed and made manifest. On the one hand, character is mean-
ingless apart from the will to discharge the duties of life, and, on
the other hand, there is no guarantee that these duties will be rightly
discharged unless principles are substituted for impulses, however
well-intentioned such impulses may be. Consequently ethical char-
acter is at once involved in all the other objectives and at the same
time requires specific consideration in any program of national edu-
This commission, therefore, regards the following as the main ob-
jective^ of education: 1. Health. 2. Command of fundamental proc-
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OP SECONDARY EDUCATION. 11
esses. 3. Worthy home-membership. 4. Vocation. 5. Citizenship.
6. Worthy use of leisure. 7. Ethical character.
The naming of the above objectives is not intended to imply that
the process of education can be divided into separated fields. This
can not be, since the pupil is indivisible. Nor is the analysis all-
inclusive. Nevertheless, we believe that distinguishing and naming
these objectives will aid in directing efforts; and we hold that they
should constitute the principal aims in education.
IV. THE ROLE OF SECONDARY EDUCATION IN ACHIEVING THESE
The objectives outlined above apply to education as a whole — ele-
mentary, secondary, and higher. It is the purpose of this section to
consider specifically the role of secondary education in achieving each
of these objectives.
For reasons stated in Section X, this commission favors such reor-
ganization that secondary education may be defined as applying to
all pupils of approximately 12 to 18 years of age.
1. Health. — Health needs can not be neglected during the period
of secondary education without serious danger to the individual and
the race. The secondary school should therefore provide health in-
struction, inculcate health habits, organize an effective program of
physical activities, regard health needs in planning work and play,
and cooperate with home and community in safe-guarding and pro-
moting health interests.
To carry out such a program it is necessary to arouse the public
to recognize that the health needs of young people are of vital im-
portance to societ}% to secure teachers competent to ascertain and
meet the needs of individual pupils and able to inculcate in the entire
student body a love for clean sport, to furnish adequate equipment
for physical activities, and to make the school building, its rooms and
surroundings, conform to the best standards of hygiene and sani-
2. Command of fundamental processes. — Much of the energy of the
elementary school is properly devoted to teaching certain fundamen-
tal processes, such as reading, writing, arithmetical computations,
and the elements of oral and written expression. The facility that a
child of 12 or 11 may acquire in the use of these tools is not sufficient
for the needs of modern life. This is particularly true of the mother
tongue. Proficiency in many of these processes may be increased
more effectively by their application to new material than by the
formal reviews commonly employed in grades seven and eight.
1 For the outlines of a health program, sec a report of this commission issued by the
Bureau of Education as Bulletin, 1017, Xo. 50, "Physical Education in Secondary Schools."
12 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
Throughout the secondary school, instruction and practice must go
hand in hand, but as indicated in the report of the committee on
English, 1 only so much theory should bo taught at any one time as
will show results in practice.
3. Worthy home-m-embership. — Worthy home-membership as an
objective calls for the development of those qualities that make the in-
dividual a worthy member of a family, both contributing to and de-
riving benefit from that membership.
This objective applies to both boys and girls. The social studies
should deal with the home as a fundamental social institution and
clarify its relation to the wider interests outside. Literature should
interpret and idealize the human elements that go to make the home.
Music and art should result in more beautiful homes and in greater
joy therein. The coeducational school with a faculty of men and
women should, in its organization and its activities, exemplify whole-
some relations between boys and girls and men and women.
Home membership as an objective should not be thought of solely
with reference to future duties. These are the better guaranteed if
the school helps the pupils to take the right attitude toward present
home responsibilities and interprets to them the contribution of the
home to their development.
In the education of every high-school girl, the household arts
should have a prominent place because of their importance to the
girl herself and to others whose welfare will be directly in her keep-
ing. The attention now devoted to this phase of education is in-
adequate, and especially so for girls preparing for occupations not
related to the household arts and for girls planning for higher insti-
tutions. The majority of girls who enter wage-earning occupations
directly from the high school remain in them for only a few years,
after which home making becomes their lifelong occupation. For
them the high-school period offers the only assured opportunity to
prepare for that lifelong occupation, and it is during this period
that they are most likely to form their ideals of life's duties and re-
sponsibilities. For girls planning to enter higher institutions —
our traditional ideals of preparation for higher institutions are particularly
incougruous with the actual needs and future responsibilities of girls. It
woul.l seem thai such high-school work as is carefully designed to develop
capacity for, and interest in, the proper management and conduct of a home
should be regarded as of importance al least equal to that of any other work.
Wo do not understand how society can properly continue to sanction for girls
high-school curriculums that disregard this fundamental need, even though
such curriculums are planned in response to the demands made by some of the
colleges for women. 11
1 Bureau of Education, Bulletin. lt)17, No. 2, " Reorganization of English in Secondary
B Reportof (he Committee ou the Articulation of High School ami College, 1911.
CARDINAL PKINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION". 13
In the education of boys, some opportunity should be found to
give them a basis for the intelligent appreciation of the value of the
well-appointed home and of the labor and skill required to maintain
such a home, to the end that they may cooperate more effectively.
For instance, they should understand the essentials of food values,
of sanitation, and of household budgets.
4. Vocation. — Vocational education should equip the individual to
secure a livelihood for himself and those dependent on him, to serve
society well through his vocation, to maintain the right relationships
toward his fellow workers and society, and, &s far as possible, to
find in that vocation his own best development.
This ideal demands that the pupil explore his own capacities and
aptitudes, and make a survey of the world's work, to the end that ho
may select his vocation Avisely. Hence, an effective program of vo-
cational guidance in the secondary school is essential. 1
Vocational education should aim to develop an appreciation of
the significance of the vocation to the community, and a clear con-
ception of right relations between the members of the chosen vocation,
between different vocational groups, between employer and employee,
and between producer and consumer. These aspects of vocational
education, heretofore neglected, demand emphatic attention.
The extent to which the secondary school should offer training for
a specific vocation depends upon the vocation, the facilities that the
school can acquire, and the opportunity that the pupil may have to
obtain such training later. To obtain satisfactory results those pro-
ficient in that vocation should be employed as instructors and the
actual conditions of the vocation should be utilized either within the
high school or in cooperation with the home, farm, shop, or office.
Much of the pupil's time will be required to produce such efficiency.
5. Civic education should develop in the individual those qualities
whereby he will act well his part as a member of neighborhood, town
or city, State, and Nation, and give him a basis for understanding in-
For such citizenship the following are essential: A many-sided
interest in the welfare of the communities to which one belongs;
loyalty to ideals of civic righteousness ; practical knowledge of social
agencies and institutions; good judgment as to means and methods
that will promote one social end without defeating others; and as
putting all these into effect, habits of cordial cooperation in social
The school should develop the concept that the civic duties of men
and women, while in part identical, are also in part supplementary.
1 For a comprehensive program of vocational guidauce see a report of this commission
issued as Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1918, No. 19, " Vocational Guidance in Seconda-y
14 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
Differentiation in civic activities is to be encouraged, but not to the
extent of loss of interest in the common problems with which all
Among- the means for developing attitudes and habits important
in a democracy are the assignment of projects and problems to
groups of pupils for cooperative solution and the socialized recita-
tion whereby the class as a whole develops a sense of collective
responsibility. Both of these devices give training in collective think-
ing. Moreover, the democratic organization and administration of
the school itself, as well as the cooperative relations of pupil and
teacher, pupil and pupil, and teacher and teacher, are indispensable.
While all subjects should contribute to good citizenship, the social
studies — geography, history, civics, and economics — should have this
as their dominant aim. Too frequently, however, does mere in-
formation, conventional in value and remote in its bearing, make
up the content of the social studies. History should so treat the
growth of institutions that their present value may be appreciated.
Geography should show the interdependence of men while it shows
their common dependence on nature. Civics should concern itself
less with constitutional questions and remote governmental functions,
and should direct attention to social agencies close at hand and to
the informal activities of daily life that regard and seek the common
good. Such agencies as child-welfare organizations and consumers'
leagues afford specific opportunities for the expression of civic quali-
fies by the older pupils.
The work in English should kindle social ideals and give insight
into social conditions and into personal character as related to these
conditions. Hence the emphasis by the committee on English on
the importance of a knowledge of social activities, social movements,
and social needs on the part of the teacher of English.
The comprehension of the ideals of American democracy and
loyalty to them should be a prominent aim of civic education. The
pupil should feel that he will be responsible, in cooperation with
others, for keeping the Nation true 10 the best inherited conceptions
of democracy, and he should also realize that democracy itself is an
ideal to be wrought out by his own and succeeding generations.
Civic education should consider other nation- also. As a peo-
ple we should try to understand their aspirations and ideals that we
may deal more sympathetically and intelligently with the immi-
grant cOming to our shores, and have a basis for a wiser and more
sympathetic approach to international problems. Our pupils should
learn that each nation, at least potentially, has something of worth
to contribute to civilization and that humanity would be incom-
plete without that contribution. This means a study of specific-
nations, their achievements and possibilities, not ignoring their limi-
tations. Such a study of dissimilar contributions in the light of the
CAEDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. 15
ideal of human brotherhood should help to establish a genuine in-
ternationalism, free from sentimentality, founded on fact, and ac-
tually operative in the affairs of nations. 1
G. Worthy use of leisure. — Education should equip the individual
to secure from his leisure the re-creation of body, mind, and spirit,
and the enrichment and enlargement of his personality.
This objective calls for the ability to utilize the common means of
enjo} T ment, such as music, art, literature, drama, and social inter-
course, together with the fostering in each individual of one or more
special avocational interests.
Heretofore the high school has given little conscious attention to
this objective. It has so exclusively sought intellectual discipline
that it has seldom treated literature, art, and music so as to evoke
right emotional response and produce positive enjoyment. Its pre-
sentation of science should aim, in part, to arouse a genuine appre-
ciation of nature.
The school has failed also to organize and direct the social activi-
ties of young people as it should. One of the surest ways in which
to prepare pupils worthily to utilize leisure in adult life is by guiding
and directing their use of leisure in youth. The school should, there-
fore, see that adequate recreation is provided both within the school
and by other proper agencies in the community. The school, how-
ever, has a unique opportunity in this field because it includes in its
membership representatives from all classes of society and conse-
quently is able through social relationships to establish bonds of
friendship and common understanding that can not be furnished by
other agencies. Moreover, the school can so organize recreational
activities that they will contribute simultaneously to other ends of
education, as in the case of the school pageant or festival.
7. Ethical character.— In a democratic society ethical character be-
comes paramount among the objectives of the secondary school.
Among the means for developing ethical character may be men-
tioned the wise selection of content and methods of instruction in all
subjects of study, the social contacts of pupils with one another and
with their teachers, the opportunities afforded by the organization
and administration of the school for the development on the part of
pupils of the sense of personal responsibility and initiative, and,
above all, the spirit of service and the principles of true democracy
which should permeate the entire school — principal, teachers, and
Specific consideration is given to the moral values to be obtained
from the organization of the school and the subjects of study in the
report of this commission entitled " Moral Values in Secondary
1 For a further discussion of civic education, sec the reports of this commission on " The
Teaching of Community Civics " and " Social Studies in Secondary Education," issued
as Bureau of Education Bulletins, 1915, No. 23, and 1916, No. 28, respectively.
16 CAEDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
Education." * That report considers also the conditions under which
it may be advisable to supplement the other activities of the school
by offering- a distinct course in moral instruction.
V. INTERRELATION OF THE OBJECTIVES IN SECONDARY EDUCA-
This commission holds that education is essentially a unitary and
continuous process, and that each of the objectives defined above
must be recognized throughout the entire extent of secondary edu-
cation. Health needs arc evidently important at all stages; the vo-
cational purpose and content is, coming properly to be recognized
as a necessary and valuable ingredient even in the early stages and
even when specific preparation is postponed; citizenship and the
worthy use of leisure, obviously important in the earlier stages, in-
volve certain phases of education that require maturity on the part
of the pupil and hence are indispensable also in the later stages of
Furthermore, it is only as the pupil sees his vocation in relation
to his citizenship and his citizenship in the light of his vocation
that he will be prepared for effective membership in an industrial
democracy. Consequently, this commission enters its protest against
any and all plans, however well intended, which are in danger of
divorcing vocation and social-civic education. It stands squarely for
the infusion of vocation with the spirit of service and for the
vitalization of culture by genuine contact with the world's work.
VI. RECOGNITION OF THE OBJECTIVES IN REORGANIZING HIGH-
Each subject now taught in high schools is in need of extensive
reorganization in order that it may contribute more effectively to the
objectives outlined herein, and the place of that subject in secondary
education should depend upon the value of such contribution. In
Section IV of this report various references have been made to
needed changes. For fuller treatment the reader is referred to re-
ports of this commission dealing with the several subjects. These
reports indicate important, steps in such modifications. In each
report the commission attempts to analyze the aims in terms of the
objectives; to indicate the adaptation of methods of presentation to
the aims accepted; and to suggest a selection of content on the basis
of aims and methods.
VII. EDUCATION AS A PROCESS OF GROWTH.
Education must be conceived as a process of growth. Only when
so conceived and so conducted can it become a preparation for life.
i Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1917. No. 51.
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. 17
In so far as this principle liars been ignored, formalism and sterility
For example, civic education too often has begun with topics re-
mote from the pupil's experience and interest. Reacting against this
formalism, some would have pupils study only those activities in
which they can engage while young. This extreme, however, is
neither necessary nor desirable. Pupils should be led to respond to
present duties and, at the same time, their interest should be aroused
in problems of adult life. With this interest as a basis, they should
be helped to acquire the habits, insight, and ideals that will enable
them to meet the duties and responsibilities of later life. Similarly
in home-making education, to neglect present duties and responsi-
bilities toward the family of which the pupil is now a member, is to
court moral insincerity and jeopardize future right conduct. With
present duties as a point of departure, home-making education should
arouse an interest in future home-making activities and with that in-
terest as a basis give the training necessaiw.
VIII. NEED FOR EXPLICIT VALUES.
The number of years that pupils continue in school beyond the
compulsory school age depends in large measure upon the degree to
which they and their parents realize that school work is worth while
for them and that they are succeeding in it. Probably in most com-
munities doubt regarding the value of the work offered causes more
pupils to leave school than economic necessity. Consequently, it is
important that the work of each pupil should be so presented as to
convince him and his parents of its real value.
IX. SUBORDINATION OF DEFERRED VALUES.
Many subjects are now so organized as to be of little value unless
the pupil studies them for several years. Since a large proportion of
pupils leave school in each of the successive years, each subject
should be so organized that the first year of work will be of definite
value to those who go no further; and this principle should be ap-
plied to the work of each year. Courses planned in accordance with
this principle will deal with the simpler aspects, or those of more
direct application, in the earlier years and will defer the refinements
for later years when these can be better appreciated. The course as a
whole will then be better adapted to the needs both of those who
continue and of those who drop out of school.
X. DIVISION OF EDUCATION INTO ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY.
Individual differences in pupils and the varied needs of society
alike demand that education be so varied as to touch the leading
aspects of occupational, civic, and leisure life. To this end curric-
18 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
ulums 1 must be organized at appropriate stages and the work of
pupils progressively differentiated.
To accomplish this differentiation most wisely the pupil should
be assisted ordinarily at about 12 or 13 years of age to begin a
preliminary survey of the activities of adult life and of his own
aptitudes in connection therewith, so that he may choose, at least
tentatively, some field of human endeavor for special consideration.
Following the period of preliminary survey and provisional choice,
he should acquire a more intimate knowledge of the field chosen, in-
cluding therewith an appreciation of its social significance. Those
whose schooling ends here should attain some mastery of the technique
involved. The field chosen will be for some as sharply defined as a
specific trade; for others, it will be but the preliminary choice of a
wider domain within which a narrower choice will later be made.
These considerations, reenforced by others, imply, in the judgment
of this commission, a redi vision of the period devoted to elementary
and secondary education. The eight years heretofore given to ele-
mentary education have not, as a rule, been effectively utilized. The
last two of these years in particular have not been well adapted to
the needs of the adolescent. Many pupils lose interest and either
drop out of school altogether or form habits of dawdling, to the
serious injury of subsequent work. We believe that much of the diffi-
culty will be removed by a new type of secondary education begin-
ning at about 12 or 13. Furthermore, the period of four years now
allotted to the high school is too short a time in which to accom-
plish the work above outlined.
We, therefore, recommend a reorganization of the school system
whereby the first six years shall be dt voted to elementary education
designed to meet the needs of pupils of approximately G to 12 years
of age; and the second six years to secondary education designed to
meet the needs of 2)upils of approximately 12 to IS years of age.
XL DIVISION OF SECONDARY EDUCATION INTO JUNIOR AND
The six years to be devoted to secondary education may well be
divided into two periods which may be designated as the junior and
senior periods. In the junior period emphasis should be placed upon
the attempt to help the pupil to explore his own aptitudes and to
make at least provisional choice of the kinds of work to which he will
devote himself. In the senior period emphasis should be given to
training in the fields thus chosen. This distinction lies at the basis
of the organization of junior and senior high schools.
1 The term " curriculum " is used by this commission to designate a systematic arrange-
ment of subjects, and courses in those subjects, both required and elective, extending
through two or more years and designed for a group of pupils whose common aims and
probable careers may properly differentiate a considerable part of their work from that of
other groups in the school.
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. 19
111 the junior high school there should be the gradual introduction
of departmental instruction, some choice of subjects under guidance,
promotion by subjects, prevocational courses, and a social organiza-
tion that calls forth initiative and develops the sense of personal re-
sponsibility for the welfare of the group.
In the senior high school a definite curriculum organization should
be provided by means of which each pupil may take work system-
atically planned with reference to his needs as an individual and as
a member of society. The senior high school should be characterized
by a rapidly developing social consciousness and by an aptitude of
self-reliance based upon clearly perceived objectives.
Under ordinary circumstances the junior and senior periods should
each be three years in length so as to realize their distinctive pur-
poses. In sparsely settled communities where a senior high school
can not be maintained effectively, the junior high school may well
be four years in length, so thai the pupils may -attend school nearer
to their homes for one more year.
The commission is not unmindful of the desirability, when funds
permit, of extending secondary education under local auspices so as
to include the first two years of work usually offered in colleges, and
constituting what is known as the " junior college," but it has seemed
unwise for the commission to attempt to outline the work of this
XII. ARTICULATION OF SECONDARY EDUCATION WITH ELE-
Admission to high school is now, as a rule, based upon the com-
pletion of a prescribed amount of academic work. As a result many
over-age pupils either leave school altogether or are retained in the
elementary school when they are no longer deriving much benefit
from its instruction. Should a similar conception of the articulation
of the two schools continue after the elementary program has been
shortened to six years, similar bad results will persist. Experience
in certain school systems, however, shows that the secondary school
can provide special instruction for over-age pupils more successfully
than the elementary school can. Consequently we recommend that
secondary schools admit, and provide suitable instruction for, all pu-
pils who arc in any respect so mature that they would derive more
benefit from the secondary school than from the elementary school.
XIII. ARTICULATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION WITH SECONDARY
In view of the important role of secondary education in achieving
the objectives essential in American life, it follows that higher insti-
tutions of learning are not justified in maintaining entrance require-
20 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
ments and examinations of a character that handicap the secondary
school in discharging its proper functions in a democracy.
As stated in Section XII of this report, the secondary school
should admit all pupils vho would derive greater benefit from the
secondary than from the elementary school. With the demand of
democratic society for extended liberal and vocational education for
an ever-increasing number of persons, the higher institutions of
learning, taken as a whole, are under a similar obligation with refer-
ence to those whose needs are no longer met by the secondary school
and are disposed to continue their education. The conception that
higher education should be limited to the few is destined to disap-
pear in the interests of democracy.
The tradition that a particular type of education, and that exclu-
sively honvocational in character, is the only acceptable preparation
for advanced education, either liberal or vocational, must therefore
give way to a scientific evaluation of all types of secondary edu-
cation as preparation for continued study. This broader concep-
tion need not involve any curtailment of opportunities for those
who early manifest academic interest to pursue the work adapted
to their needs. It does, however, mean that pupils who, during the
secondary period, devote a considerable time to courses having voca-
tional content should be permitted to pursue whatever form of higher
education, either liberal or vocational, they are able to undertake
with profit to themselves and to society.
XIV. RECOGNITION OF THE OBJECTIVES IN PLANNING CURRICU-
Xo curriculum in the secondary school can be regarded as satis-
factory unless it gives due attention to each of the objectives of
education outlined herein.
Health, as an objective, makes imperative an adequate time assign-
ment for physical training and requires science courses properly
focused upon personal and community hygiene, the principles of
sanitation, and their applications. Command of fundamental proc-
esses necessitates thorough courses in the English language as a
means of taking in and giving forth ideas. Worthy home-member-
ship calls for the redirection of much of the work in literature, art,
and the social studies. For girls it necessitates adequate courses in
household arts. Citizenship demands that the social studies be given
a prominent place. Vocation as an objective requires that many
pupils devote much of their time to specific preparation for a definite
trade or occupation, and that some pursue studies that serve as a
basis for advanced work in higher institutions. The worthy use of
leisure calls for courses in literature, art, music, and science so taught
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. 21
as to develop appreciation. It necessitates also a margin of free
electives to be chosen on the basis of personal avocational interests.
Due recognition of these objectives will provide the elements of
distribution and concentration which are recognized as essential for
a well-balanced and effective education.
XV. THE SPECIALIZING AND UNIFYING FUNCTIONS OF SECOND-
1. Their significance. — The ideal of a democracy, as set forth in
Section II of this report, involves, on the one hand, specialization
whereby individuals and groups of individuals may become effective
in the various vocations and other fields of human endeavor, and.
on the other hand, unification whereby the members of that democ-
racy may obtain those common ideas, common ideals, and common
modes of thought, feeling, and action that make for cooperation,
social cohesion, and social solidarity.
Without effective specialization on the part of groups of individ-
uals there can lie no progress. Without unification in a democracy
there can lie no worthy community life and no concerted action for
necessary social ends. Increasing specialization emphasizes the need
for unification, without which a democracy is a prey to enemies at
home and abroad.
2. The specializing function. — Secondary education in the past has
met the needs of only a few groups. The growing recognition that
progress in our American democracy depends in no small measure
upon adequate provision for specialization in many fields is the chief
cause leading to the present reorganization of secondary education.
Only through attention to the needs of various groups of individuals
as shown by aptitudes, abilities, and aspirations can the secondary
school secure from each pupil his best efforts. The school must capi-
talize the dominant interest that each boy and girl has at the time
and direct that interest as wisely as possible. This is the surest
method by which hard and effective work may be obtained from each
Specialization demands the following provisions in secondary
(a) A wide range of subjects. — In order to test and develop the
many important capacities and interests found in pupils of secondary-
school age, the school should provide as wide a range of subjects as
it can offer effectively.
(b) Exploration and guidance. — Especially in the junior high
school the pupil should have a variety of experience and contacts
in order that he may explore his own capacities and aptitudes.
Through a system of educational supervision or guidance he should
22 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
be helped to determine his education and his vocation. These de-
cisions should not be imposed upon him by others.
(c) Adaptation of content and methods. — The content and teach-
ing methods of every study should be adapted to the capacities, in-
terests, and needs of the pupils concerned. In certain studies these
factors may differ widely for various groups of pupils, e. g., chemis-
try should emphasize different phases in agricultural, commercial,
industrial, and household-arts curriculums.
(el) Flexibility of organization and administration. — Flexibility
should be secured by " election ? ' of studies or curriculum, promotion
by subjects from the beginning of the junior high school, possible
transfer from curriculum to curriculum, provision for maximum and
minimum assignments for pupils of greater and less ability, and,
under certain conditions, for the rapid or slow prcgress of such
(e) Differentiated curriculums. — The work of the senior high school
should be organized into differentiated curriculums. The range of
such curriculums should be as wide as the school can offer effect-
ively. The basis of differentiation should be, in the broad sense of
the term, vocational, thus justifying the names commonly given,
such as agricultural, business, clerical, industrial, fine-arts, and
household-arts curriculums. Provision should be made also for those
having distinctively academic interests and needs. The conclusion
that the work of the senior high school should be organized on the
basis of curriculums does not imply that every study should be differ-
ent in the various curriculums. Xor does it imply that every study
should be determined by the dominant element of that curriculum.
Indeed any such practice would ignore other objectives of education
just as important as that of vocational eflicienc}-.
3. The unifying function. — In some countries a common heredity,
a strongly centralized government, and an established religion con-
tribute to social solidarity. In America, racial stocks are widely di-
versified, various forms of social heredity come into conflict, differing
religious beliefs do not always make for unification, and the members
of different vocations often fail to recognize the interests that they
have in common with others. The school is the one agency that
may be controlled definitely and consciously by our democracy for the
purpose of unifying its people. In this process the secondary school
must play an important part because the elementary school with its
immature pupils can not alone develop the common knowledge, com-
mon ideals, and common interests essential to American democracy.
Furthermore, children of immigrant parents attend the secondary
school in large and increasing numbers; secondary education comes
at a stage in the development of boys and girls when social interests
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. 23
develop rapidly; and from the secondary school the majority of
pupils pass directly into participation in the activities of our society.
The unifying function calls for the following provisions in second-
(a) Studies of direct value for this purpose, especially the social
studies and the mother tongue, with its literature.
(b) The social mingling of pupils through the organization and
administration of the school.
(c) The participation of pupils in common activities in which
they should have a large measure of responsibility, such as athletic
games, social activities, and the government of the school.
4. Specialization and unification as supplementary functions. —
With increasing specialization in any society comes a corresponding
necessity for increased attention to unification. So in the secondary
school, increased attention to specialization calls for more purpose-
ful plans for unification. When there was but little differentiation
in the work within the secondary school, and the pupils in attendance
were less diversified as to their heredity and interests, social unifica-
tion in the full sense of the term could not take place.
The supplementary character of these functions has direct bearing
upon the subjects to lie taken by secondary-school pupils. To this
end the secondary school should provide the following groups of
(a) Constants, to be taken by all or nearly all pupils. These
should be determined mainly by the objectives of health, command of
fundamental processes, worthy home-membership, citizenship., and
(b) Curriculum variables, peculiar to a curriculum or to a group
of related curriculums. These should be determined for the most
part by vocational needs, including, as they frequently do. prepara-
tion for advanced study in special fields.
(c) Free elcctives, to be taken by pupils in accordance with in-
dividual aptitudes or special interests, generally of a nonvocational
nature. These are significant, especially in preparation for the
worthy use of leisure.
The constants should contribute definitely to unification, the cur-
riculum variables to specialization, and the free electives to either or
both of these functions.
In the seventh year, that is the first year of the junior high school,
the pupil should not be required to choose at the outset the field to
which he will devote himself. For those who do not at this time
have a definite purpose, opportunity should be given to gain some
experience with several significant types of work, such as some form
of industrial arts, gardening or other agricultural activit3\ type-
writing or problems drawn from business, household arts for girls,
and for at least a part of the pupils some work in a foreign language.
24 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
It may be found feasible to organize several such subjects or projects
into short units and to arrange the schedule so that every pupil may
take several of them. The work thus offered may and should be of
real educational value, in addition to its exploratory value.
In the two following years of the junior high school, some pupils
should continue this trying-out process, while others may well devote
one-fourth to one-half of their time to curriculum variables. Pupils
who will probabty enter industry at the end of the ninth grade may
well give as much as two-thirds of their time to vocational prepara-
tion, but they must not be permitted to neglect preparation for citi-
zenship and the worthy use of leisure.
In the senior high school the relative proportion of these three
groups of subjects will vary with the curriculum. Pupils who are
to enter a gainful occupation before the completion of the senior high
school may well devote a large proportion of their time to the cur-
riculum variables, especially during their last year in school.
In brief, the greater the time allowed for curriculum variables, the
more purposeful should be the time devoted to the constants in order
that the school may be effective as an agency of unification. Above
all, the greater the differentiation in studies, the more important be-
comes the social mingling of pupils pursuing different curriculums.
The supplementary character of the specializing and unifying
functions has a direct bearing also upon the type of high school best
suited to the needs of democratic society, as discussed in the next sec-
XVI. THE COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOL AS THE STANDARD
The comprehensive (sometimes called composite, or cosmopolitan)
high school, embracing all curriculums in one unified organization,
should remain the standard type of secondary school in the United
Junior high schools must be of the comprehensive type, whatever
policy be adopted for the senior high schools, since one of the pri-
mary purposes of the junior high school is to assist the pupil through
a wide variety of contacts and experiences to obtain a basis for in-
telligent choice of his educational and vocational career. In the
judgment of the commission senior high schools and four-year high
schools of the older organizations should, as a rule, be of the compre-
hensive type for the following reasons:
1. For effectiveness of vocational education. — When effectively or-
ganized and administered (see pp. 27 to 29) the comprehensive
high school can make differentiated education of greater value to
the individual and to society, for such value depends largely upon
the extent to which the individual pursues the curriculum best suited
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. 25
to his needs. This factor is of prime importance, although fre-
quently ignored in discussions regarding the effectiveness of voca-
tional and other types of differentiated education.
In a system of special-type schools many influences interfere with
the wise choice of curriculum. Thus many pupils choose the high
school nearest to their homes, or the school to which their friends
have gone or are going, or the school that provides the most attractive
social life or has the best athletic teams. Still others are unwisely
influenced by the notions of neighbors and friends of the family.
After entering a special-type school, many pupils drop out because
the work is not adapted to their needs, while comparatively few
transfer to another school.
In a comprehensive school the influences interfering with a wise
choice of curriculum may be reduced to a minimum. When an un-
wise choice has been made the pupil may be greatly aided in discover-
ing a curriculum better adapted to his needs because he can see other
work in the school, talk with school companions, and confer with
teachers who are able to give him expert advice regarding such cur-
riculums. When such a pupil has found a curriculum better adapted
to his needs, he can be transferred to it without severance of school
relationships and. what seems to him, the sacrifice of school loyalty.
Moreover, pupils in comprehensive schools have contacts valuable
to them vocationally, since people in every vocation must be able to
deal intelligently with those in other vocations, and employers and
employees must be able to understand one another and recognize
common interests. Similarly, teachers in comprehensive sehools have
a better opportunity to observe other curriculums and are thereby
better able to advise pupils intelligently.
Summarizing under this head, the well-organized comprehensive
school can make differentiated education of greater value than can
the special-type school, because it aids in a wise choice of curriculum,
assists in readjustments when such are desirable, and provides for
wider contacts essential to true success in every vocation.
2. For unification. — When administered by a principal who him-
self recognizes the social value of all types of secondary education
and inspires a broad spirit of democracy among teachers and pupils,
the comprehensive high school is a better instrument for unification.
Through friendships formed with pupils pursuing other curriculums
and having vocational and educational goals widely different from
their own, the pupils realize that the interests which they hold in
common with others are, after all, far more important than the
differences that would tend to make them antagonistic to others.
• Through school assemblies and organizations they acquire common
ideas. Through group activities they secure training in cooperation.
Through loyalty to a school which includes many groups they are
26 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
prepared for loyalty to State and Nation. In short, the compre-
hensive school is the prototype of a democracy in which various
groups must have a degree of self-consciousness as groups and yet
be federated into a larger whole through the recognition of common
interests and ideals. Life in such a school is a natural and valuable
preparation for life in a democracy.
3. For objectives other than vocation. — A comprehensive high
school can provide much more effectively for health education, educa-
tion for the worthy use of leisure, and home-making education than
a number of .smaller special-type schools can.
The most effective health education requires adequate equipment
and instructors competent to diagnose health needs and direct health
activities. Expenses and difficulties of duplication of such facilities
in every smaller special-type school are almost prohibitive. Prepara-
tion for the worthy use of leisure is best achieved when there is a
wide variety of activities from which pupils may select, such as
arts and crafts clubs, literary and debating societies, and musical
organizations. All of these require for their success enthusiastic
leadership such as can best be secured from a large faculty. Girls
in all curriculums should have the advantages of work in household
arts under efficient directors and with adequate equipment. Such
conditions are most readily provided in the comprehensive school
where there is a strong department of household arts.
With the establishment of a special-type high school it frequently
happens that various important phases of education are neglected
or minimized in the other schools of that system.
4. For accessibility. — In cities large enough to require more than
one high school it is desirable to have each school so located as to
serve a particular section of the cit} T , thereby reducing the expense
and loss of time involved in travel on the part of pupils. The
proximity of the school to the homes results also in greater interest
in education on the part of pupils and parents, and consequently
increases the drawing and holding power of the school.
5. Adaptation to local needs. — In recommending the comprehensive
high school as the standard secondar} 7 school the commission recog-
nizes that in large cities where two or more high schools are needed
it is not alwaj'S possible to provide every curriculum in each high
school, such a practice being precluded by the fact that certain
curriculums would thereby enroll in the several schools too few
pupils to permit economical organization and administration. In
such cases a few curriculums may well appear in selected comprehen-
sive schools or even in a single school only, while other curriculums
appear in every school.
The commission also recognizes the impracticability of offering
every curriculum in every small rural high school. In such cases it
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. 27
is desirable that a curriculum for which the number of pupils does
not warrant such duplication should be offered in selected schools,
and that pupils needing that curriculum should go to those schools.
This plan is substantially the same as that recommended for the
6. Effective organization of curriculum's in comprehensive high
schools, — Finally, the commission recognizes that in the past rela-
tively ineffective instruction has been afforded in some comprehen-
sive schools. This has been clue in part to the fact that every-
where vocational education has been passing and is still passing
through a period of experimentation. The commission believes,
however, that the most serious defect in vocational education in the
comprehensive high school has been due to a lack of proper organiza-
tion and administration. Effective vocational education can not be
secured when administered like so many accidental groupings of sub-
jects. To remedy this situation the commission recommends that
each curriculum, or group of closely related curriculums, in the
large comprehensive high school be placed under the supervision of
a director -whose task it shall be to organize that curriculum and
maintain its efficiency. The curriculum directors must work under
the general direction of the principal, who must be the coordinator of
all the activities of the school. Especially is it necessary that each
director shall be selected with the same care that would be exer-
cised in choosing the principal of a special- type school enrolling as
many pupils as are enrolled in the curriculum or curriculums under
his direction, In medium-sized high schools unable to employ
directors for the various curriculums, the teachers should be or-
ganized into committees to consider the problems of the various
curriculums, all working under the direction of the principal.
Unless the various curriculums are effectively organized and ad-
ministered, and unless the democratic spirit pervades the school, the
comprehensive high school is in danger of failure: with these factors
present, it has every promise of success.
XVII. RECOGNITION OF THE OBJECTIVES IN ORGANIZING THE
The objectives must determine the organization, or else the or-
ganization will determine the objectives. If the only basis upon
which a high school is organized is that of the subjects of study,
each department being devoted to some particular subject, there
will result an over-valuation of the importance of subjects as such,
and the tendency will be for each teacher to regard his function as
merely that of leading the pupils to master a particular subject,
rather than that of using the subjects of study and the activities of
the school as means for achieving the objectives of education. The
28 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
departmental organization is desirable but needs to be supplemented.
The two following methods are suggested:
(A) The Principal's Council.
The principal may select from his teachers a council, each member
of which shall be charged with the responsibility of studying the
activities of the school with reference to a specific objective. Plans
for realizing these objectives should be discussed by the principal
and the council. Without impairing in any way the ultimate re-
sponsibility of the principal, it will, as a rule, increase the efficiency
of the school if the principal encourages initiative on the part of
these council members and delegates to them such responsibilities as
he finds they can discharge. The members of such a council and
their duties are suggested as follows:
Health director. — This council member should seek to ascertain
whether the health needs of the pupils are adequately met. For this
purpose he should consider the ventilation and sanitation of the
building, the provisions for lunch, the posture of pupils, the amount
of home work required, the provisions for physical training, and
the effects of athletics. He should find out whether the pupils are
having excessive social activities outside of school, and devise means
for gaining the cooperation of parents in the proper regulation of
work and recreation. He may Avell see whether the teaching of
biology is properly focused upon hygiene and sanitation.
Citizenship director. — The citizenship director should determine
whether the pupils are developing initiative and the sense of per-
sonal responsibility. He should foster civic-mindedness through the
school paper, debating society, and general school exercises, and give
suggestions for directing the thinking of the pupils to significant
problems of the day.
Curriculum directors. — As discussed in Section XVI of this re-
port, for each important group of vocations for which the school,
offers a curriculum, or group of curriculums, there should be a
director to study the needs of these vocations and find out the respects
in which the graduates are succeeding or failing in meeting legiti-
mate vocational demands. With the knowledge thus gained he
should strive to improve the work offered by the school.
One of these curriculum directors should have charge of prepara-
tion for colleges and normal schools. He should obtain the records
of graduates attending those schools and find out the strong and
weak points in their preparation. He will advise with pupils in-
tending to enter these institutions as to the work that they should
take in the high school.
Director of vocational and educational guidance. — This member of
the council should collect data regarding various vocational and edu-
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. 29
cational opportunities and the qualifications needed. If the school
is small, he may help individual pupils in acquiring an intelligent
attitude toward the choice of a vocation or of a higher education :
but if the school is large, he must train others who can know the
pupils more intimately, to assist in this service, always holding him-
self ready to give advice.
Director of preparation for leisure. — This council member should,
so far as possible, see that the pupils are developing interests that
will assist them in later life to use their leisure wisely. He should
consider especially the musical organizations, the school library, the
art clubs and classes, and the various ways in which pupils are
spending their leisure.
The large school may have need for additional directors to deal
with other vital phases of education.
(B) By Committees.
The principal may appoint committees of teachers each of which
woidd be charged Avith duties similar to those described. An ad-
vantage of the committee plan is that a larger number of teachers
will be stimulated to acquire a broad educational point of view.
Theoretically, it is possible for the principal himself to supervise
the teaching and direct all the activities of hhe school; Practically,
however, the majority of administrators tend to become absorbed in
a few aspects of education. In fact, intensive creative work along
any one line on the part of the principal leads naturally to at least a
temporary neglect of the other aspects of education. Consequently,
either a principal's council or committees of teachers seem essential
in order that none of the objectives may be neglected.
It is not intended that the council or the committees should in
any way lessen the ultimate responsibility of the principal, but that
by this means the cooperation of the entire teaching body may be
secured and all the objectives held in view.
XVIII. SECONDARY EDUCATION ESSENTIAL FOR ALL YOUTH.
To the extent to which the objectives outlined herein are adopted
as the controlling aims of education, to that extent will it be recog-
nized that an extended education for every boy and girl is essential
to the welfare, and even to the existence, of democratic society.
The significance of these objectives is becoming more and more ap-
parent under modern conditions in our democracy. These conditions
grow out of increased knowledge of science with its rapidly extend-
ing applications to all the affairs of life, keener competition with
its attendant dangers, closer contacts of peoples of varied racial and
religious types, and greater assertiveness of all men and women in
the control of their own destinies. These and many other tendencies
30 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION".
increase the significance of health, worthy home-membership, voca-
tion, citizenship, the worthy use of leisure, and ethical character.
Each of these objectives requires for its realization not only the
training and habit formation that the child may secure, but also the
intelligence and efficiency that can not be developed before ado-
lescence. In fact, their realization calls for the full period allotted
to both the junior and senior high schools.
Consequently, this commission holds that education should he so
reorganized that every normal hoy and girl will he encouraged to
remain in school to the age of 18, on full time if possible, otherwise
on part time.
XIX. PART-TIME SCHOOLING AS A COMPULSORY MINIMUM
As stated in Section I of this report, only one American youth in
about three reaches the first year of the four-year high school, and
only one in about nine remains in school to the end of the high-
school course. This condition is, in the last analysis, due principally
to four causes: First, the limited range of instruction commonly
offered by secondary schools; second, the failure on the part of the
school adequately to demonstrate to young people and their parents
the value of the education offered; third, the lure of employment,
together with the desire for increased economic independence on the
part of young persons; and fourth, economic pressure in the family,
real or imagined.
The first of these causes is rapidly disappearing through the intro-
duction of curriculums with rich vocational content. The second
may be removed by subordinating deferred values and reorganizing
instruction so as to make the values more evident to the learner, as
! discussed in Sections VIII and IX. The third may be diminished
in its effect by greater virility in school work. Economic pressure
will continue until social conditions can be materially improved.
In the meantime, a sound national policy dictates the urgent need
for legislation whereby all young persons, whether employed or not,
shall be required to attend school not less than eight hours in each
Aveek that schools are in session until they reach the age of 18.
Attendance for eight hours in each week will make possible im-
portant progress not only in vocational efficiency but also in the
promotion of health, preparation for wortlry home-membership,
civic intelligence and efficiency, the better utilization of leisure, and
ethical development. All these objectives are evidently as impor-
tant for the young worker as for those who remain in full-time at-
tendance at school.
The value of part-time instruction, if properly organized, is out of
all proportion to the time involved, because it can utilize as a basis
CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. 31
the new experiences of the young- worker and his new social and
civic contacts. Moreover, continued attendance at school will afford
an intellectual stimulus too often lacking to these young persons
under the modern subdivision of labor.
Consequently, this commission recommends the enactment of legis-
lation whereby all young persons up to the age of 18, whether em-
ployed or not, shall be required to attt nd the secondary school not
less than, eight hours in each, week that the school* are in session.
In some State-, it may be held to be impracticable at the outset to
require such part-time attendance beyond the age of 16 or 17. but the
commission holds that the imperative needs of American democracy
can not be met. until the period is extended to 18.
To make this part-time schooling effective it will be necessary to
adapt it specifically to the needs of the pupils concerned. More-
over, teachers must be trained for this new type of work. Without
such provisions there is great danger of failure and a consequent re-
action against this most valuable extension of secondary education.
In view of the importance of developing a sense of common inter-
ests and social solidarity on the part of the young worker and those
of bis fellows who are continuing in full-time attendance at school,
it appears to this commission that this part-time education should "be
conducted in the comprehensive secondary school rather than in
separate continuation schools, as is the custom in less democratic
societies. B/< this plan the part-time students and the full-time
students may share in the use of the assembly hall, gymnasium, and
other equipment provided for all. This plan has the added advan-
tage that the enrollment of all pupils may be continuous in the sec-
ondary school, thus furthering employment supervision on the one
hand and making easier a return to full-time attendance whenever
the lure, of industry or the improvement of economic conditions in
the family makes such a return inviting and feasible.
Th< part-time attendance for eight hours a week of all person*
between 14 and 18 who are not now in school will require a large
increase in the teaching force in secondary schools. No other single
piece of educational legislation could, however, do more to raise
the level of intelligence and efficiency and to insure the welfare of
In concluding this report on the cardinal principles of secondary
education the commission would call attention to its 17 other reports
in which the principles herein set forth arc applied to the various
aspects of secondary education. The reports now available are listed
on the last page of this bulletin, and other are nearly ready for pub-
lication. One report will consider in detail the application of these
32 CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF SECONDARY EDUCATION.
principles to the organization and administration of secondary
schools. Thirteen reports deal with the aims, methods, and content
of the various subjects of study and curriculums in the light of these
principles. Three others discuss vocational guidance, physical edu-
cation, and the moral values that should be derived from secondary-
school organization and instruction.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the problems of sec-
ondary education merit much more serious attention than they have
received heretofore. The study of the best methods for adapting sec-
ondary education to the needs of modern democratic life is but begun.
The physical, intellectual, emotional, and ethical characteristics of
young people are still but vaguely comprehended. Such knowledge of
social needs and educational theory and practice as is already avail-
able has been seriously studied by comparatively few administrators
and teachers. Progress will depend very largely upon adequate pro-
fessional training of teachers both before and after entering upon
service. Plans must be adopted for pooling the results of successful
experimentation on the part of individual teachers. To make the
reorganization effective, competent supervision and constructive lead-
ership must be provided in the various fields of secondary education.
It is the firm belief of this commission that secondary education
in the United States must aim at nothing less than complete and
worthy living for all youth, and that therefore the objectives de-
scribed herein must find place in the education of every boy and
Finally, in the process of translating into daily practice the cardi-
nal principles herein set forth, the secondary school teachers of the
United States must themselves strive to explore the inner meaning
of the great democratic movement now struggling for supremacy.
The doctrine that each individual has a right to the opportunity to
develop the best that is in him is reinforced by the belief in the po-
tential, and perchance unique, worth of the individual. The task of
education, as of life, is therefore to call forth that potential worth.
While seeking to evoke the distinctive excellencies of individuals
and groups of individuals, the secondary school must be equally
zealous to develop those common ideas, common ideals, and common
modes of thought, feeling, and action, whereby America, through a
rich, unified, common life, may render her truest service to a world
seeking for democracy among men and nations.
u^l^JB) * "4-1 Q3
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